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Scientists attempting to predict disability examine posture

Nobody in Missouri plans to become disabled. Most of us hope to work and be independent for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, it does not always work out that way. Whether due to an accident, illness or the worsening of a pre-existing condition, some people become disabled to the point that they cannot support themselves through work.

While Social Security disability exists to help disabled adults, if there were warning signs of disability down the road, lifestyle changes and preventative medicine perhaps would be able to reduce or even eliminate the impact that a condition would have on our lives.

A new study suggests that a person's posture could be a clue to whether or not he or she could become disabled as a senior citizen. The study found that those at age 65 or older with poor posture were nearly 3.5 times as likely to require assistance for basic functions within just a few years.

The study examined 804 people who were at least age 65, measured their postures and followed up on them four and a half years later. Those with the greatest angle between the top and bottom of their spinal columns at the original examination were 3.47 times more likely to require "activities of daily living" assistance, or ADL. That refers to everyday tasks like bathing, using the toilet and dressing oneself. Those who require ADL are likely living in a nursing home or receiving home health care because they cannot perform those tasks on their own.

This study focused on people toward the end of their careers, but the idea that disability could someday be predicted and possibly mitigated could be promising. But those who are unable to work can still turn to SSD for financial assistance.

Source: Huffington Post, "Posture Predicts Disability Risk, Study Shows," April 8, 2013

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